Antidepressants and Telogen Effluvium

Discussion in 'Hair Loss Causes' started by Sad b/c of hair loss, May 9, 2010.

  1. hello.
    I am a 31-yr old woman who has always had beautiful thick healthy long hair, until 2 1/2 months ago. It all started in Feb of this year. I was starting a new job. I'd been laid off and looking for work for 7 months. When I finally got a new job, I was really nervous about transitioning back into the work-a-day routine. I was also in the process of moving from nyc to the suburbs. Starting the night before my first day on the new job, I could not sleep. I'd never been a good sleeper and had taken ambien as needed for the past 4-5 years. But this was different. I could not sleep AT ALL, for days at a stretch. So I when to a psychistrist who prescribed: zoloft, trazodone (at night for sleep) and klonopin (as needed). I started off taking the zoloft and trazodone, and only using the klonopin 2-3 times weekly when I felt most anxious at night. 3 weeks in I noticed I was losing more hairs than normal. I stopped the zoloft after just 3 weeks, but continued w the trazodone and klonpin since they were really helping me sleep well. After about another month, I was certain I was losing hair. So I stopped everything. Stopped the trazodone, and klonopin. THat was about 1 month ago. I have telogen effluvium as a result. I am losing 100+ hairs per day and I am so very distressed, and so very sad. I always used to wash my hair every day but now can only bear it every other and the days I do wash I lose over 100 in the shower alone. Does anyone have any advice, or success stories having stopped antidepressants and recovering from the hair loss? :(
  2. KathyTheGreat

    KathyTheGreat New Member

    Boy, a lot of what you say sounds like my story. I'm a lot older than you ( 52 ), but I've had trouble sleeping for years. I was on ambien for the longest time. Now, they put me on the zoloft and trazadone at night. My hair is a complete mess right now. I was also on synthroid. I'm just going to try to tough it out and not take these medicines in the hope that they can help me sleep. It's a vicious cycle. You're so young to have to go thru this nonsense. I feel for you. I wish I had the answer. Next month, I'm have an appointment with an endo and I'm hoping that this will help me.
  3. Kathy - thanks so much for posting a response. It made me feel so much better just to know there's someone else out there going through what I'm going through. Did you ever have hair loss issues when you were on just on the ambien alone? I took ambien for many years, as needed, not every single day - and never had any issues w hair loss. Now I'm returning to ambien b/c i have no other recourse having quit the trazodone and antidepressants. I need to take it maybe 2-3 times per week on average. I'm probably just paranoid but of course now I'm worried that taking ambien is also going to be bad for my hair recovery. but it shouldnt be, right? if it was fine before all this? Do you have sense whether it was the zoloft that did it (to your hair) or the trazodone? or the combo of both? I have no clue but would love to know if you have any thoughts. Thanks so much.
  4. KathyTheGreat

    KathyTheGreat New Member

    You know, I think just the ambien alone is fine and it won't whack your hair. Not sure what did it to my hair. Was it the synthroid or the trazodone? So darn frustrating. So I've stopped both. I have some natural thryoid which I'm going to take until I see the endo in June. I'll just try to get to sleep naturally. I want my hair back, darn it. I never had really great hair in my life, but it is really bad right now. Every so often, I think about getting my husbands electric razor and being done with the whole thing.
  5. I try to get to sleep naturally too - unfortunately I suffer from anxiety which makes falling asleep difficult, and near-impossible, when I'm keyed up about something. Thats when I turn to the ambien, especially on Sunday nights when its a transition into the work week. I am devastated by this happening. I almost I wish I had cancer so at least it would make some freakin sense to other people - my I'm losing my hair. I feel like I'm a freak. I mean, I'm a young, healthy woman who just recently got married and I workout frequently and now - i am literally losing my hair. I asked my mom if she would help me research wigs and extenstions in case it gets to that point, just to have a plan, though I literally cannot imagine walking into work with a wig someday - I think I'd rather just quit the job if it got to that point. I feel very very depressed. and I know I'm supposed to stay positive, bc the more stressed you feel, the longer the recovery will take. but seriously, how are you supposed to focus on other things when your precious hairs are falling out all day long? Have you seen any Dr about it? My derm said it was telogen eflluvium that will shed for 3-6 moths and then regrow. I'm just having trouble imaging myself with any hair left to shed after 3-6 more months of this. :(
  6. KathyTheGreat

    KathyTheGreat New Member

    You poor thing. Believe me, a lot of what you say is what I'm going thru right now. I'm lucky in that my job allows me to work from home. So no one sees that mess of hair that I have ( except for the UPS man or the mailman ). You said that you're healthy otherwise. Maybe you should see an endocrinologist to see if your thryoid is okay. The reason I say that is because it could be on the low side and that could be affecting your hair. At least your regular doctor can get you a blood test to see what those levels are at so you could rule out your thyroid. I hear you about the anxiety. My ambien prescription ran out and I'm trying not to go back to that doc to get it renewed. Ambien has so many side effects, with the sleepwalking ( I had that ).
  7. Thanks Kathy. I have had my thyroid checked and its normal. I had my iron, ferritin, and hormone levels checked as well - those results should come in today but I am certain thats not the problem, it was those antidepressants, i just know it. Hey here's another question -- is your scalp really itchy? Mine is itching like crazy and I dont know if thats a sign that more loss is about to come?
  8. KathyTheGreat

    KathyTheGreat New Member

    Yep, got the itchy scalp as well. But I'm too afraid to scratch it cause it might mean that more hair will fall out. Good to hear that all the thyroid stuff is normal. Are you in some suburb of NYC? I live up here in CT, up between Danbury and Waterbury, so we are probably not neighbors.
  9. I live in white plains. you're probably only like 1 1/2 - 2 hrs away from where I live. My derm said the itchy scalp was because I was thinking about my hair too much. I mean really? I cannot believe how little regard even the most qualified Doctors give to this condition. Have you found any Drs or Specialists worth seeing, in your opinion? So far I have not, and am desperately looking.
  10. KathyTheGreat

    KathyTheGreat New Member

    Yep, these doctors can be pretty callous at times. That's a bunch of nonsense about your thinking about your scalp makes it itchy. Do you think maybe seeing a different derm doctor would be a good idea? At least down in White Plains, you are close enough to the city that you might find a doc down there who has their act together. Maybe you could post something about looking for a doc down in the city. You might get some nibbles.
  11. annamarkowitz

    annamarkowitz New Member

    Are you or have you taken any other rx's? I took a birth control pill on top of taking anti depressants (Buproprion and Lorazapem <sp?>) And was dying all my hair every 2-3 months, so who knows what really triggered the hair loss...but I really noticed hair coming out when I started the anti dep's. I called and left a msge on my psychiatrist's office to let her know. Do these dr's really look at what other Rx's you are taking??????
    I have lost over half of my precious hair. and I am only in my 30's. NO bueno. Have you read any of the posts on the main webpage? People are giving good advice and tips.
  12. KathyTheGreat

    KathyTheGreat New Member

    Since I was taking both the synthroid and the trazodone, I don't know which was the culprit. I stopped taking both in the hope that this will get my system back to normal. When I was just taking the ambien, no hair loss problems. It's just been in the last couple of months that it really picked up speed. I'm trying more natural things to help with my sleep issues. I have an appointment in June with an endo. I seem to have all my hopes pinned on this one meeting. My regular doc just seems to know synthroid and trazodone. She doesn't seem to hear my complaints about my hair. You would think that with all the docs in this country that there would be some of them that have a better idea about how some of these medicines can affect your hair.
  13. annamarkowitz - did you stop taking your anti-deps? Is your hair loss still going on? For how long have you been shedding? I was only taking mine for 2 months. Stopped them early april. I agree it is unbelievable that the doctors responsible for prescribing these medications fail to inform patients this is a potential side effect.
  14. Kathy - what sort of natural remedies are you trying to help w the sleep issues?
  15. KathyTheGreat

    KathyTheGreat New Member

    Yes. Not taking either the synthroid or the anti-deps. I stopped both about a week ago. It might be a little early to say that the shedding has stopped, but when I look at what I get out of my comb, there aren't too many hairs. The anti-dep medicine is for helping me to sleep at night. But losing my hair keeps me awake and worried. I think I'd rather be tired and hairy rather than rested and bald. Those anti-dep meds also make you gain weight. You can't win no matter what you try.
  16. KathyTheGreat

    KathyTheGreat New Member

    For sleeping, I'm taking this vitamin from Source Naturals called Theanine Serene. I am also taking bhringraj for my hair,which is also suppose to be calming. I slept pretty good last night, slept all the way thru the night. Going without that ambien is tough, but it's better to not be on any of these crazy prescription medicines. The bhringraj is an ayurvedic vitamin for healthy hair.
  17. K - how much trazodone were you taking each night? I was all over the place - started at only 50 - then worked up to 150 - then went down to 75 for the last couple weeks. I stopped taking it cold turkey which you're not supposed to do - I had the worst migrane headache for an entire weekend. It is true you cant win no matter what you do.
  18. KathyTheGreat

    KathyTheGreat New Member

    I was on 50 mcg. She was giving it to me as an off-label kind of thing.
  19. lisas

    lisas New Member

    Antidepressants are hell on hair!!

    Hi Ladies!!

    I too am suffering from hair loss that I believe is from being on Paxil but it has taken me years to figure this out and to start to wean myself off of the meds. Due to chronic depression and anxiety, I was told that I would have to remain on Paxil for life- I was in my late 20's when it was first prescribed. In my thirties I realized how thin my normally very, very thick hair was getting. My hair loss occurred primarily at the crown of my head so that I now have a major comb over. I went to a dermatologist and asked if hormones could be the problem and if minoxidil would work. I was told that I was too young to have the problem be hormonal and minoxidil definitely wouldn't work. He proceeded to inject my scalp with cortisol. Needless to say, that did nothing.

    A couple of years ago, I went to a "midlife" center for women for hormonal testing. Thyroid is low and my Cortisol (stress hormone) is through the roof!!! So I started taking b-vitamins to help with the stress and levothyroxine- which also causes hair loss. My doctor sent me to an endocrinologist because she didn't know exactly what was going on. The endocrinologist was dismissive at best and wouldn't analyze the tests that I had previously done because they weren't conducted in their lab and she "didn't know how to interpret the results." Really???? Because right on the sheet it has normal ranges and my values which don't fall into the normal range. How had could it possibly be????

    After that experience, I kind of gave up for a while- until last month. I was sitting at the computer when my husband asked me if I would like to have a hair transplant. Now I can't see the back of my head under normal circumstances so I didn't realize how bad my hairloss had become. After a couple of days of crying and not wanting to leave the house, I began to research hair loss causes. Now, I'm slowly weaning myself off an antidepressant that I've been on for years because I trusted the medical community. I'm also weaning myself off of the levothyroxine because I believe that's done nothing but enhanced the hair loss effect. I'm only 41.. I feel like I should be LIVING more. Not spending all of my time searching for answers online.

    Have either of you tried any natural sleep aid such as melatonin to deal with the insomnia from anxiety?
  20. KathyTheGreat

    KathyTheGreat New Member

    The melatonin didn't help a whole lot. I've been using some ayurvedic medicines to help me sleep and they do a decent job. The herb is bhringraj and I take a couple during the day and a couple at night. They are suppose to calm you down and also help in hair growth. My ayurvedic doctor told me he had taken them in the past when he lost a lot of hair. I've never seen any Indians with bad hair so I kinda laughed at him about that until he told me how he was working 3 jobs at one point and getting very little sleep. That is when his haired thinned out a lot. He started taking the bhringraj and he has a really nice, dark head of hair. It's so thick that I could never imagine him ever having a problem. So if these help me sleep and also help my hair, why not. The ayurvedic medicines may take longer to work, but there are no bad effects ( like that darn synthroid and the hair loss ). I just need to be dilligent with these pills and the biotin. I've noticed all the biotin has helped my nails, so hopefully my hair will be next to come back.